This is a retrospective for the countries of the Economic Union of Central Africa (UEAC). The entry into force of the ban on the export of timber in the form of logs, which was set for January 1, 2023, has been postponed to a date yet to be determined.
The UEAC Council of Ministers considers that the countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), namely Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, CAR, Equatorial Guinea and Chad, are not not yet ready to apply such a measure. “There is a huge fiscal cost (…) Given the context in which we find ourselves, the ministers have considered, rightly or wrongly, but I think rightly, postponing this decision to a later date”, explains Daniel Ona Ondo, president of the CEMAC commission.
The Gabonese minister mentioned the loss of tax revenue that Cameroon would suffer, for example, if the ban on the export of logs in the CEMAC zone came into force in January. “The implementation of this measure should lead to revenue losses in Cameroon in the order of 80 billion CFA francs (nearly 122 million euros). During the implementation of this decision, Gabon lost 75 billion CFA francs (more than 114 million euros). Accompanying measures are necessary. he explains.
Initially scheduled for January 1, 2022, the entry into force of this measure was then postponed to January 1, 2023. The objective of this measure is to increase, secure and enhance the wood resource. This is an opinion shared by the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is in favor of a process of sustainable industrialization of the timber sector, in order to capitalize on the various value chains of the resource and to generate jobs for youth.
In a report published in 2020, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Center for Environment and Development (CED) had already drawn the attention of Cameroonian authorities to the need to apply a complete ban on export of logs. For these environmental defenders, the export of logs encourages the looting of forests, in particular the illegal cutting and sale of wood, which has created a shortfall in Cameroon of around 33 billion CFA francs between 2016 and 2020.